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Notes & Quotes From Lucian Bute And Glen Johnson

Bute hopes to be victorious again on Nov 5
Bute hopes to be victorious again on Nov 5

By:Marc Livitz: Showtime Boxing, InterBox, Lou DiBella Promotions and various other media groups hosted an international conference call this afternoon to discuss the upcoming bout between undefeated IBF Super Middleweight champion Lucian Bute, (29(24)-0), and veteran Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson, (51(35)-15(1)-2).

The fight is set to take place Saturday, November 5th in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Chris DeBlasio of Showtime Networks, Inc. began the call with much enthusiasm in regard to closing out 2011 with several quality fights. The top two include the aforementioned Bute/Johnson bout as well as the Andre Ward and Carl Froch matchup in the upcoming and long-awaited final of the Super Six tournament. He praised both Bute and Johnson when he stated, “ There’s great significance with the two gentlemen on the phone today. They are two of the most gentle, kind and hardworking in all of boxing. We appreciate their efforts and we’re looking forward to a terrific night in Canada.” Jean Bedard, president of InterBox Promotions further stated the same feelings of elation. “There have been almost 13,000 tickets sold and this has been a very good promotion for us. It’s our biggest card ever and the biggest challenge for Lucian Bute in Glen Johnson.”

Lucian Bute spoke but three words of English and the remainder of the call was done so in French through the services of an interpreter. The Romanian-born champion opened with, “Hello. Hi, everybody.” He followed with these opening statements, “Thanks to all the media for being on the line. I’m getting ready for big fight, so thanks to Glen. As you know, I’ve been in camp for seven weeks. I feel like I’m getting involved in the Super Six, finally. Glen has seen everything in boxing. I know him as a friend, but I’m very confident in my abilities. On Nov fifth, I’ll deliver a great performance.” Bute was then asked of his opinions of the two Super Middleweight contenders (Kelly Pavlik and Mikkel Kessler), whom reportedly refused to face him, to which he replied, “ “We made several offers. I don’t know why and I can’t say why. I have no control over their decision, but I am happy to facing Glen Johnson.”

Bute and Johnson were once sparring partners a few years ago and during this time, the two fighters formed a friendship and mutual respect for one another. Bute stated, “Two years ago, he was preparing for (Chad) Dawson and I was preparing for (Librado) Andrade. However, sparring is always different from a real fight. It was hard sparring and we wanted to win everyday. I think I’ve improved since then.”

When Johnson was asked for an estimate of how many rounds of sparring the two had done and the turnout of the fights for which they had been training, he was quite blunt as he replied, “Not sure how many rounds, maybe ninety-six or so. I was paying more attention to the work I was doing. It was hard work and I believe we both got better. In our fights, I lost and he won. We just move forward from there.”

Each fighter was asked of their opinions of whether or not the bout was a step-up for them. Bute answered first. “Johnson has seen almost everything in boxing. He’s faced everyone. Even when he lost, I watched them all (his fights). He has the most credibility, so for me it’s a major step-up”, he said.

Johnson was asked the same and what his thoughts were on facing an acquaintance, to which he replied, “he has a lot of talent & skill. He has fast hands and he ranks among the best. This is not sparring. It’s fighting. I have respect for Lucian, but this is fighting for everything and giving it your all. We can resume our friendship later.” Lucian Bute further stressed the same emotion when he replied, “yes, there’s mutual respect. My career is on the line. On the night of the fight, there are no friends. This guy can take away what I’ve worked for, so there are no friends in the ring.”

The conference then briefly took a different direction. Both Bute and Johnson were asked for their take on the recent Bernard Hopkins/Chad Dawson fight in Los Angeles, which controversially ended in a second-round TKO win for Dawson before being overturned to a no-contest bout. Hopkins was forced to quit in the second round after he stated he had injured his shoulder after Chad Dawson shoved him to the canvas. Johnson stated, “the incident can’t take away from the fight because not much happened before it. I truly thought it should be a no-contest. I think they are going down the right path in working it out. The fight wasn’t finished.” Bute answered but also took a personal jab at Bernard Hopkins when he was asked whether or not he would ever choose to face him when he said, “True injury or not, this I don’t know. We sat down to see a great fight and we didn’t get it. I always consider Hopkins a good opponent, but does the network want to see him again? There’s always a doubt with Hopkins and what type of fight we’ll get.”

Lucian Bute was then asked to describe his next opponent. “He’s aggressive with a great jab and right hand. I know he will put pressure on me all night if I let him, so I must pick my angles.”, he said of Glen Johnson, who himself was then asked if he was feeling the pressures to bend toward retirement at age 42. “I feel great and I expect to put on a tremendous performance.” The question was then put forward to Johnson on whether or not he has experienced any trouble in making the fight’s 168 lb. weight limit, to which he replied, “It’s been no problem and it’s not an issue. We made it fairly easy and it gets easier each time.” Bute was asked if he’d like to be one of the few fighters to stop the Jamaican-born Johnson or if he would rather simply let the fight come to him, to which he answered, “I will go into the ring to win as many rounds as possible. I will do what I normally do and I’ll give a great performance.”

In another turn away from the typical questions, both Bute and Johnson were asked to give their prediction on the upcoming Super Six Super Middleweight Final between the undefeated American Andre Ward and Englishman Carl Froch. Johnson answered first. “I see a close fight, but I’ll go with the American kid. The fight is in America and he may get the benefit of the doubt.” Bute shortly thereafter replied, “It should be spectacular fight. How will Ward cope with the strength and power of Carl Froch?” Johnson was defeated by Froch when he served as a fill-in combatant for the Super Six tournament in June of this year. He was asked to rate his performance and he replied, “I fought poorly and I was disappointed with myself. It was close, but I could have done better.”

Lucian Bute was born in Romania but has quickly become the adopted hometown favorite of Quebec City. He recently staged a homecoming fight in Bucharest, which was a fourth round knockout victory for Bute over Frenchman Jean Paul Mendy. He was asked to give the differences between fighting in the two countries. “I feel my home is in Montreal, but it was privilege for me to fight in Romania”, he stated.

Clearly, the goal of this fight is name an opponent for the winner of the Super Six tournament. Each fighter was asked who they would rather face (Andre Ward or Carl Froch). Bute answered first with, “I think I could challenge both, but I would love to face Carl Froch.” Johnson replied, “I’ll fight anybody. We will think about that when we get there. I would prefer to fight Froch again.”

October 25, 2011

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